Cost of Living in Canada: Is Canada Expensive?

Cost of Living in Canada: Is Canada Expensive?

The cost of living in Canada is as diverse as the population. This diversity is one of the top reasons to relocate to Canada. Everyone will want to find out how much things cost. From that, they can determine if it’s a good idea to move there or not.

Vancouver, Toronto, and Calgary are ranked among the most expensive cities for expatriates in North America, so you can expect to pay high prices for housing, transportation, and food. On the other hand, small cities and rural areas are much less expensive.

Affordability of Canada is a big factor that determines the quality of life The cost of living in Canada is moderate compared to other countries, especially in the major cities. You can find beautiful homes, apartments, and condominiums at reasonable prices. Housing costs are generally higher in major urban centers like Vancouver and Toronto.


The food prices in Canada are low compared with most other developed nations. Groceries and other food items are cheaper than in the U.S., but you can expect to pay more for imported goods such as wine, cheese, and meat products. Canada’s minimum wage laws are based on an hourly rate; however, there are differences between provinces, territories, and municipalities. In some cases, the minimum wage varies by sector (i.e., restaurant vs retail).

The quality of life in Canada is something that most people greatly appreciate. People live a comfortable life in the country, have access to quality health care and education, and have an infrastructure that works well. Canada’s healthcare system is paid for through taxes. Thus, there are no direct health care costs for an individual. Canada also has an expansive network of universities that are subsidized by the government making higher education highly affordable for people residing in the country.

Anyone looking to move to Canada for a lower cost of living should know that there are several things you need to consider. For example, is the average cost of living in Canada cheaper than in another country? Is the salary that one earns also related to the cost of living?

Are the prices and quality of goods similar? Is it enough to cover your needs or do you have less money left after spending on your family’s basic needs? Well, we’ve researched far and wide to give you all the details you need to know about the costs of living in Canada.

Table of Contents

Is Canada Expensive To Live In?

The answer is yes, living in Canada is expensive. Canada is an expensive country to live in and has one of the most expensive places to live in the world. The cost of living in Canada is higher than in most countries in the world, but you get what you pay for.

The quality of life you get from the high living cost is by far the best in North America. The cost of living in Canada can vary greatly depending on where you live. The country has an advanced healthcare system and some of the best universities in the world.

However, if you’re coming from a country with a higher cost of living, such as Austria or China, you may find that Canada is cheaper than what you’re used to paying for things like food and rent.

ExpensesMonthly Cost [USD]
Clothing and Shoes94.58
Utilities (Monthly)282.78
Rent Per Month1,485.5

The average Canadian spends about 52% of their income on housing costs (rent or mortgage payments), which includes electricity, heating, and cooling costs.


Renting an apartment or condo can be very expensive in some cities such as Vancouver or Toronto where there’s a shortage of available housing units for rent or sale which drives up prices for all rentals in those areas.

Food prices vary depending on where you buy your groceries, although anywhere from $5 to $10 per meal is typical. Milk products tend to be more expensive than other dairy products and meat tends to be more expensive than poultry or fish.


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Living expenses are different from discretionary spending because they are considered essential costs that allow people to maintain their quality of life without having to sacrifice necessities like food or shelter.

For example, a person who lives alone may have $2,000 per month in discretionary income while someone with a spouse and two children might only have $1,000 per month in discretionary income after paying all their bills.

In general, the average living expenses for a family depend on their income level and size. This figure includes items such as rent or mortgage payments, utilities (electricity, heat, and water), phone bills, and groceries. It also includes medical insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs.

In this article, we’ll discuss the average costs of living in Canada and how much money you’ll need to make to survive there. We’ll also talk about some of the most expensive cities in Canada.

Cost Of Living: What Are the Living Expenses Like In Canada?

The cost of consumer goods in Canada is determined by several factors, including the price of raw materials, labor rates, and government taxes. Most of the items we use daily are imported from other countries, so we may not be aware of how much they cost to make.

Cost Of A Meal & Restaurants Food Prices In Canada

The average cost of food in Canada is between C$30.00 to C$100.99 per day depending on your budget and the nature of the restaurant. This includes everything from canned soup to cheeseburgers at fast food restaurants like Mcdonald’s or Burger King.

Food ItemPrice in Canadian Dollars (C$)
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant20.00 C$
Three-course Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant85.00 C$
McMeal at McDonald’s (or Equivalent Combo Meal in a Food Chain Restaurant)12.00 C$
Domestic Beer (0.5L)6.50 C$
Imported Beer (0.33L)8.00 C$
Regular Cappuccino4.54 C$
Coke/Pepsi (0.33L)2.37 C$
Water (0.33L)1.96 C$

Cost Of Groceries & Consumer Goods In Canada

Bakery products account for the largest share of grocery spending in Canada at 18.4% followed by meat, seafood, and poultry (15%). These two categories account for almost half of all grocery sales in Canada.


GroceriesPrice in Canadian Dollars (C$)
Regular Milk, (1L)2.60 C$
Loaf of Fresh Bread (500g)3.06 C$
White Rice, (1Kg)3.99 C$
Regular Eggs (12)3.87 C$
Local Cheese (1Kg)14.25 C$
Chicken Fillets (1Kg)14.11 C$
Beef Round (1Kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat)17.49 C$
Apples (1Kg)4.60 C$
Banana (1Kg)1.80 C$
Oranges (1Kg)4.39 C$
Tomato (1Kg)4.63 C$
Potato (1Kg)3.00 C$
Onion (1Kg)2.90 C$
Lettuce (1 head)2.84 C$
Water (1.5)2.21 C$
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)15.49 C$
Domestic Beer (0.5L)3.58 C$
Imported Beer (0.33L)3.92 C$
Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro)16.00 C$

Cost Of Transportation and Commuting In Canada

In Canada, transportation is not considered as expensive if it’s compared with other things like apartments or food. If you want to travel from one end of the country to the other at no cost, you only need to walk!

Transportation in Canada is one of the things that make this country so beautiful, so charming, and attractive to immigrants. The Canadian transport system is super reliable and somewhat futuristic.

The cost of public transportation varies according to the city or town you live in and its size. For instance, public transportation costs less in smaller communities than it does in larger cities like Toronto and Vancouver because fewer people are using it. It also costs more to travel by bus or subway in a big city than it does by car.

If you live near a university or college campus, you may be able to get around for free by taking advantage of their shuttle buses or campus transit system. Some employers also offer discounts on bus passes or parking permits for employees who commute to work by bus or train instead of driving alone every day.

Canada’s transportation network is extensive and comprehensive, ensuring Canadians living across the country have access to the goods and services they need. The National Highway System forms the main transportation corridors in Canada and provides inter-regional road travel within and between provinces. The Canadian Rail system consists of a total of approximately 92,000 kilometers of track.

This article will help you to estimate the cost of transportation in Canada so that you can budget accordingly;

TransportationPrice in Canadian Dollars (C$)
One-way Ticket3.25 C$
Monthly Pass (Local Transport)100.00 C$
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff)4.00 C$
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff)2.00 C$
Taxi 1-hour Waiting (Normal Tariff)34.00 C$
Gasoline (1 liter)2.03 C$
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car)28,000.00 C$
Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car)25,127.48 C$

Cost Of Basic Utilities In Canada

The cost of utility services varies widely depending on the provider, location, and service plan. You can expect to pay anywhere from C$50 to C$100 per month for basic cable TV packages, depending on the number of channels and other features you choose. The average cost for internet service is around C$80 per month for a 25 Mbps connection. To get a 100 Mbps connection with unlimited data will cost about double that. DSL and dial-up connections are available at lower speeds and prices.

Utility bills vary depending on where you live and the size of your home. In Canada, electricity is often more expensive than heating and air conditioning costs. Also, remember that utilities include more than just electricity and gas; water and sewerage are also included in utility bills.

UtilityPrice in Canadian Dollars (C$)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 45m2 Apartment145.66 $
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment231.05 C$
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans)0.34 C$
Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)81.89 C$

Cost Of Entertainment In Canada

Entertainment is a major part of the Canadian lifestyle. The country has some of the best skiing and snowboarding on earth, along with several world-class ski resorts. Canada is also home to some of the finest golf courses in the world. For those who love sports, there are professional hockey, baseball, football, and basketball teams in most major cities throughout Canada.

The cost of entertainment in Canada is high. The average cost for a family of four to go to the theater is around C$625, and that’s not including snacks or drinks. A night out at a restaurant will run you at least C$60 per person.

The most expensive city to go out at night is Vancouver (C$125), while Montreal (C$65) and Toronto (C$55) are more affordable options.

Leisure & SportsPrice in Canadian Dollars (C$)
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult52.93 C$
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend)21.91 C$
Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat14.25 C$
iPad, Wi-Fi, 128GB813.52 C$

Cost Of Childcare and Education In Canada

The education system in Canada is one of the best in the globe. It is based on values and principles from all Canadians, regardless of gender or background. Learning under Canadian teachers is no doubt an enjoyable experience and after graduation, children then head out to attend colleges or universities making it easier to build a better career.

Schooling is compulsory in Canada until the age of sixteen. It is the responsibility of the provinces to determine their curriculum, although there are many similarities among them. Canada has strong private school history and even though the attendance of private schools has fallen sharply in recent years, they still account for 12% of Canadian students.

The cost of education in Canada is very high. The University of Toronto, one of the top universities in the world, has an annual tuition fee of C$15,000. In addition to fees, students will have to pay for books and living expenses such as rent and food. In comparison, the average cost of tuition for a master’s degree program at McGill University is about C$30,000 per year. This means that a student who completes their program over four years would have paid C$120,000 in tuition alone (double what it would have cost at UofT).

With the cost of education growing, students are becoming more and more interested in finding affordable ways to pursue higher education. Unfortunately, this cost often prevents students from going to college or university. However, there is one country where obtaining an education is relatively inexpensive.

TuitionPrice in Canadian Dollars (C$)
Preschool (or Kindergarten), Full Day, Private, Monthly for 1 Child1,101.84 C$
International Primary School, Yearly for 1 Child17,392.55 C$
International High School, Yearly for 1 Child21,040.17 C$
 Colleges and University25,000.15 C$
The Average Living Expenses for Students (rent, food, utility, entertainment, transport, and insurance)1,200 C$

Cost Of Clothing, Wears & Accessories In Canada

The average cost for a woman’s clothing outfit is about C$60 and for a man’s outfit is about C$100. Many factors can affect these numbers such as quality, brand name, and style. For example, if you buy jeans from Abercrombie & Fitch, they will cost more than if you bought them at Wal-Mart. However, other factors play into the price of clothing such as quality and brand name (for example Polo Ralph Lauren).

Clothing prices in Canada are influenced by several factors:

The average price range for shirts is around C$50 – C$80 depending on what kind of shirt it is (long sleeve or short sleeve). Pants range anywhere from C$30 – C$100 depending on how nice they are (jeans are around C$40).


Shoes tend to be the most expensive item in any wardrobe ranging anywhere from C$60 to C$200 depending on shoe type (sneakers would be cheaper than dress shoes). Accessories such as jewelry can also affect the total cost of your wardrobe

Clothing & AccessoriesPrice in Canadian Dollars (C$)
1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar)66.31 C$
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, …)46.00 C$
1 Pair of Running Shoes (Adidas, Nike…)104.70 C$
1 Pair of Men’s Leather Business Shoes130.56 C$

Cost Of Personal and Health Care In Canada

Health Care is Free in Canada. Yes, you heard that right. It is free In Canada, healthcare is a universal, single-payer system with public funding. The Canadian Institute for Health Information reports that nearly 70% of Canadians have some form of private health insurance to supplement their public coverage. Overall costs are paid for by provincial and federal governments, except for prescription drugs, which are covered by private prescription drug plans subsidized by the government.

The average annual cost per person for health care services in Canada is C$840. This includes all types of medical services including hospital visits, doctor visits, and dental care. This cost does not include prescription drugs or home care services.

Personal care is a broad term that refers to the products and services you use daily to stay clean and healthy. From deodorant, shampoo, and toothpaste to manicures, pedicures, and haircuts, personal care products can be expensive. The cost of personal care products is often underestimated by consumers. The average Canadian household spends C$120 per month on these products.

Care ProductsPrice in Canadian Dollars (C$)
Medications for Cold (Tylenol, Coldrex…)10.00 C$
Box of Antibiotics (12 doses)24.00 C$
15 mins Visit a Private Doctor122.00 C$
Box of 32 Tampons (Tampax…)10.00 C$
Deodorant & Roll-on (50mL – 1.5oz.)5.73 C$
Hair Shampoo 2-in-1 (400mL – 12oz.)5.63 C$
4 Rolls of Toilet Paper3.26 C$
Tube of Toothpaste2.91 C$
Standard Men’s Haircut in the City28.00 C$
Standard Men’s Haircut in the Suburb20.00 C$

Cost Of Housing and Accommodation In Canada

The accommodation has a huge impact on business travelers, Immigrants, and new Canadians whose main objective is to look for affordable housing in any city they’ve relocated to, students who want temporary student housing, and security guards that do not have a permanent residence or just can’t afford their accommodation, just to name a few.


The cost of housing can vary in different parts of Canada. Many factors decide this cost including the type of accommodation, location and even the size of it.

The cost of accommodation in Canada is relatively high compared to other countries. The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Canada is $959 per month while the average monthly rent for a 3-bedroom apartment is $1,392. These figures are based on estimates from the first quarter of 2019 and do not include utilities or other expenses.

Rent prices do vary by province and city. Vancouver has the highest rent prices of all Canadian cities with an average monthly rent of C$1,772 for a 1-bedroom apartment and $2,793 for a 3-bedroom apartment. Renting in National can get expensive, especially if you are on a tight budget. But renting can be more affordable than you think. Let’s look at the numbers.

RentPrice in Canadian Dollars (C$)
Monthly Rent for a 1-bedroom Apartment in the City1,761.34 C$
Monthly Rent for a 1-bedroom Apartment in the Suburb1,404.83 C$
Monthly Rent for a 2-bedroom Apartment in the City2,368.92 C$
Monthly Rent for a 2-bedroom Apartment in the Suburb2,007.76 C$
Monthly Rent for a 3-bedroom Apartment in the City2,766.86 C$
Monthly Rent for a 3-bedroom Apartment in the Suburb2,539.05 C$

Canada’s housing market has shown signs of cooling in recent months, but housing prices are still rising at an unsustainable pace. The benchmark price of a home in Canada was C$665,849 in June, up 1.8% from the same month last year, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

Apartment Price in Canadian Dollars (C$)
Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment in City Centre9,014.35 C$
Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre6,438.75 C$

What is the Average Living Cost in Canada?

The average Canadian salary is C$62,730 per year (about US$49,900). However, this figure doesn’t include taxes or health insurance premiums – which can add up to another C$12,000 per year! If you’re earning less than C$30,000 per year, you’ll probably be eligible for tax credits that reduce your tax bill.

A single person estimated monthly cost is around C$3,425, rents, tax, utilities, transportation, and other bills are included. While a small family (4 individuals) estimated monthly costs is C$6,208 which covers most of everything.

CityCost of Living IndexLocal Purchasing Power Index
St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador75.1985.24
Nanaimo, BC69.7985.90
Quebec City65.39124.22
Red Deer64.94114.51

Canada is an attractive destination for skilled workers, investors, and entrepreneurs. Canada’s economy is growing at a rapid pace, with the unemployment rate at 5.9 percent in 2018, its lowest level since 1975.

Canada’s economic growth has been fuelled by strong job creation, with over 1 million net new jobs created since the end of the global recession in 2009. This growth has been driven by investment in the resources sector but also reflects a broad-based expansion across most industries.

Canada is a country of immigrants, and the Canadian government has made it easier for foreign workers to find jobs in Canada than ever before. There are job opportunities available in all provinces and territories across Canada. From entry-level jobs to executive positions, we have opportunities for everyone!

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